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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Barry Clifford: The Soldiers Of War

The price for what we accept as the ‘normality’ of peace is more easily forgotten in a world of privilege. Despite what we call a recession, or in a world where many think we have lost our moral compass, or that things seemed not as good as they used to be seen through rose tinted glasses, the reality is so very different: these are the best days of our lives in the free world. The only thing that ever stood in the way of that since time began, and ever will be is: war.

War is the ultimate result of when the buck stops at the doorstep of two people who cannot articulate anymore or any better since the first primitive grunt from our ancestors wielding a club made out of animal bone. Often war starts over the most trivial of things: principle, honor, jealousy or rage.  As it was in the beginning, it might have a far more reaching territorial or economic gain that at least made sense to many that would follow a particular leader, believing, at least to the soldier, their might be something in it for him; that path has often been well sold and trodden since, and in the main is the most likely cause of war.

                                      The blind leading the blind during the First world war

It is left to the soldier of war who has the most to lose in all of it starting with his life. He is the testing ground, the prober, and ultimately the fodder of mainly men; they are the chess players and the soldier is the pawn. The politics and morality after the battle is left for the victors to decide, and to their political masters, the spoils of war to divide. But for the soldier, if he survives, can be very different, and much worse for his family if he does not. If he is left able bodied it is a blessing, if not it is surely a curse.

The trumpeting of war is drowned forever after by the silence that the seriously wounded have to bear, when everything that mattered before does not matter anymore, and where death for many would have been the better choice. The support of their families will be tested, their own patriotism, and the will to go on will soon follow.

This is the 100th year since the beginning of the Great War that was supposed to end all wars; less than 21 years since it’s end we had the beginning of the Second World War. Many smaller wars followed in between and since. The next major mistake made from the politics for the avoidance of war will be our last. But the argument to start war must be seen first with due respect of the soldier and to his care, just as a father would look out for his child and only son; and the honest, moral and just reasons why the need to go to war after the attempts at all else fails. To them, the soldiers, both men and women, it is their living that must matter most sacred and not their dying. 

To those that are there after a 'just' war and their families, deserve, not the fickle tests of our remembrance, but real supports set in the bedrock of law that provides for them, and from that of which we take for granted: freedom in a free world.

By Barry Clifford